• ESPN Bet will launch on Tuesday with an exact launch time undetermined.
  • Penn Entertainment and ESPN’s sports betting product launches replace Barstool Sportsbook in 17 states.
  • Some state commissioners raised concerns over the betting influence that ESPN on-air personalities could have.

BRISTOL, Conn. ESPN BET launches on Tuesday across 17 states. PENN Entertainment and ESPN’s high-stakes gamble to join the legal online sports betting market begins.

Although both ESPN and PENN Entertainment announced ESPN BET will launch on Nov. 14, there isn’t an official launch time set. Both of ESPN’s morning shows, Get Up and First Take, failed to make any mention of the imminent online sportsbook launch.

Why Did ESPN And PENN Entertainment Collaborate?

PENN’s pursued involvement into legal sports betting through Barstool Sportsbook wasn’t effective. The company took a $923 million loss over three years with Barstool Sports and failed to earn more than 2% of the nationwide sports betting market share.

Now, PENN Entertainment goes all in with ESPN, a company with over 200 million monthly viewers. It appears PENN believes ESPN is the necessary move to break the sports betting duopoly formed by FanDuel and DraftKings, who consume nearly 70% of the US online sports betting market.

The ESPN-branded sportsbook will go live in the 17 legal US sports betting states where PENN Entertainment is already licensed through Barstool Sportsbook. Those states include Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was the only state to raise questions in their public meeting on Nov. 8. They ultimately decided not to interfere with the planned Nov. 14 launch, but some commissioners showed integrity concerns.

Can ESPN Workers Bet On Games?

One Massachusetts gaming commissioner questioned the relationship between on-air ESPN personalities and the betting product. He asked Chris Rogers, PENN Entertainment’s Chief Strategy Officer how personalities like Pat McAfee would discuss sports betting without marketing it to ESPN consumers.

Rogers explained that PENN and ESPN instilled guidelines for how personalities and ESPN figures can discuss sports betting during shows like College Gameday or other ESPN programs with a younger audience. PENN Entertainment and ESPN Bet prevent ESPN employees from making wagers on games or leagues they are covering or working on.

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